Varcoe: UCP strikes compromise in oilpatch assessment issue with $80M break for industry

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Four options under consideration would have lowered overall assessment values on affected properties between seven and 20 per cent, according to the RMA.

Since the summer, rural leaders have been lobbying government MLAs to re-examine the matter, saying these options would lead to hefty tax increases, deep service cuts or a combination of the two.

Kemmere said more work and consultations will need to be done in the coming years on assessment reform.

“The government has made a decision on municipal dollars here. While it’s nowhere near where we feared it was going, it’s still an allocation of municipal money,” he said.

“It’s a balance, and the fact (is) we are being assured we are going to have the (broader) conversation in the future.”

To say rural municipalities have been watching this issue closely is an understatement, given what is at stake.

For example, Cypress County Reeve Dan Hamilton said last week the steepest assessment cut being proposed would have led to a $7.8 million drop in its annual revenues, or about one-third of its non-residential tax base.

“We have had a few sleepless nights being on the council side, trying to figure out what to do,” he said. “We have spent a lot of time, lobbying the government, trying to get everything stopped.”

The energy industry has also been pressing.

Analysis by CAPP said a typical well pad in the Montney formation in Alberta is assessed at 20-times as high as in British Columbia, while a thermal oilsands facility in Alberta is assessed at 13 times that of Saskatchewan.

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